The Montreal Impact are a chaotic football team.
Now, before Impact fans jump all over “the Toronto guy” for pointing this out, let’s be clear. Calling them such isn’t an insult.
It’s not a compliment either. It’s simply an observation.
Chaos is in their DNA, which has led them down some wacky roads throughout their existence. Some have paid off, some have blown up and some just were.
That chaos comes from the man at the heart of the operation. Joey Saputo has been the one constant in the Impact, whether it was in the old A-League/USL/NASL days, or in the post 2012 MLS-era.
He has always worn his heart on his sleeve, and he has managed the team in a way that often pleases the fans. That’s largely because he manages the team like a fan – albeit a very rich one.
If you were a fan who was an owner too and Didier Drogba became available, you’d sign him.
If you were a fan that was an owner too and you were REALLY frustrated by the lack of results, you’d fire your manager on a whim too.
Again, and again and again and…
And, if you were a fan who was an owner too, you’d hire Thierry Henry to be your manager as well.
Thierry Henry is cool. He’s worldly. He was a very talented footballer.
All of those things are undoubtedly true. However, what we don’t know yet is whether Thierry Henry is a good manager.
The early evidence isn’t great. At Monaco he was mostly a disaster (in a tough situation, to be fair) that didn’t show any particular skill in either tactics or player recruitment. That’s not to say he can’t be successful in Montreal, but it does underline that there is literally no evidence to suggest he will be.
There really isn’t. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a shot by the Impact.
The positive reaction today can basically be summarized as “Weeeeeeee I loooooove him!” Bluntly, that’s a needed emotion when it comes to the Impact, a club that has struggled to consistently breakthrough in the public consciousness in Montreal. There hasn’t been this much Impact talk in Montreal since, well, Drogba was signed.
That’s part of the play, I think. The season ticket base needs a boost and the committed fans need a reason to believe again. On the surface, Henry provides the type of positive energy that is needed for both.
More informed Impact fans seem to understand the risk involved in the signing, but tend to believe that a big roll of the dice was needed and that this qualifies.
So, perhaps its best to just sit back and let this play out. Like any head coach coming into MLS for the first time, Henry deserves to be given the same amount of chance as any other. That he’s famous shouldn’t matter or disqualify him.
It is a very Impact signing, after all. Good or bad it’s almost guaranteed to be…chaotic.